Jesse Krimes

Does Punishment Render Justice?


Newark, NJ

Does Punishment Render Justice? asks an enduring question, which takes on particular urgency in contemporary America--a nation that incarcerates approximately 2 million people. The text overlays a deconstructed American flag, flipped vertically to reference prison bars, framing a solitary chair. This references artist Jesse Krimes' Elegy series of quilts, which depict incarcerated people's descriptions of home; empty spaces from which the millions behind bars have been disappeared. The chair, like many elements of the Elegy quilt series, also integrates the clothing of people who are currently incarcerated, evoking a presence through absence. As the nation swings back toward a "tough on crime" approach in popular rhetoric and policy, this is a reminder of the human cost of a system that relies on punishment, cruelty and the coercive disappearance of millions from their communities and families.

Photograph by Colin Miller
Photograph by Colin Miller


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